You can use Amazon's Echo device to order a pizza or stream music on Spotify, so shouldn't you be able to ask the digital assistant "Alexa" to call you a car from Uber? Well, starting today, you can. Uber is announcing Friday that its application program interface, or API, has been integrated with Amazon's smart home hub.
The update may be the purest manifestation of Uber's mission to make getting you from point A to point B completely seamless. After all, what's easier than speaking the words "call me an Uber" into thin air, and having the car show up minutes later? This could be the provenance of germaphobes everywhere. (Of course, you'll still have to touch the Uber's door handle.)
"You don't have to lift a finger."
Alexa will also accept "request me a ride," "call me a ride," "get me an Uber," and dozens of other iterations. She will even accept "call me a taxi," because to Alexa, taxi is synonymous with Uber.
It's also an example of both Uber and Amazon's desire to integrate with as many other platforms as possible. Uber has set out to become the de facto transportation service by making its API available to app developers who want to add a deep link to the ride-hail service. And Amazon is out to prove its electric genie is more versatile than Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana.
"Maybe you're running late and your phone's charging in another room or you're not the most savvy smartphone user — having the ability to ask Alexa to get you an Uber just by using your voice takes the magic of getting a ride to an entirely new level," said Matt Wyndowe, Uber's head of product partnerships. "We used to say push a button get a ride, now with the help of Alexa you don't have to lift a finger."